Let’s geek out a little with a new SSD

16
Jun
2012

Ok, this post may not be for everyone, but for the geeks out there:

I have been noticing that prices on some SSDs have dropped dramatically the last few weeks. I have been waiting for this so that I could purchase one for my early 2011 Macbook Pro, on which I do all my work. I settled on the very attractively priced 512GB M4 drive from Crucial, which I found online for $399. I could have bought a smaller capacity one earlier, but I really wanted one that was large enough to hold all my files (work, music, photos) so I wouldn’t have to split it up (and split the performance benefit as well).

Installation was a breeze, you just open the machine, turn a few screws, pop out the old drive, and pop the new one in. But restoring your old data, while easy to do, takes a frustratingly long time. I just booted from my Time Machine backup and restored the whole system, which took (for about 400GB of data) an insane 7 hours to accomplish. Next time, I would start this process late at night and wake up to a new machine. I lost a lot of productive time yesterday watching that stupid progress bar inch forward. (I guess I had assumed that since the target drive was SSD, it would all transfer quite a bit faster to it, even over USB2 from the external drive).

Now that is is all installed and running, all I have to say is “WOW!”

Everything is so much faster, and I mean EVERYTHING. Even things I didn’t expect to be much faster, like web browsing. It clearly makes a big difference when accessing the cache and other items held on disk, and browsing is like lightning. Applications all open in a second, startup time is about 10 seconds. Launching and working with large image files is a breeze. iPhoto is crazy faster. My machine now gives me hand jobs and makes me breakfast. Ok, maybe not that great, but still. This is like buying a new machine, but much cheaper. I highly recommend it (now that prices are coming down).

So…tired

15
Jun
2012

Well, between staying up super late last night with some client work (trying to be awake at the same time as my client’s developer in India) and having last night’s Middle Eastern fare (from Taboon) do a number on my stomach acid levels, I only got about 3 hours sleep. I am really dragging today, perhaps I will get to nap a bit later. I would say TGIF, but as you know, in the life of a freelancer there are no weekends (cue Maggie). But then again, there are no weekdays either, and sometimes I am off doing whatever on an idle Tuesday. I need more coffee…

Hoot and hooch

13
Jun
2012

Last night I went out with some friends to The Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea. It has been several years since I went to any kind of stand up (I think the last time must have been at the Un-Cabaret back in 2006 or something). This was also the second time in a week that I was in a cabaret type environment, where the entry is “free”, but there is a two drink minimum.  And especially for stand up, I am sure drinking enhances the audience appreciation/participation potential. Many of the acts were quite short, and most of them not terribly funny. I did notice a few themes that I thought were interesting though. Several of the comedians did bits about being gay (one of them actually was gay) or being perceived as gay, playing a little bit on the old stereotypes, but mostly in a non abusive way. It struck me how far we have come when this staple of comedy has gotten such a makeover. Humor about gay people used to be almost universally disparaging, but like the culture around it has changed dramatically, with most of the jokes poking fun at the uncertainty and silliness of rigid gender norms. What originally lured us to the standup was the fact that Bryan Callen was going to be there (of MadTV Pool Boy fame among others), but I have to admit that his short bit fell totally flat for me. On the other hand, Aziz Ansari was hysterical, and his takedown of a rather rude, entitled, phone-texter in the audience was hilarious and satisfying.

Kind of campy

11
Jun
2012

Just got back yesterday from a sweet little camping trip with a group of about 19 guys, most of whom I hadn’t met before, but all of whom were really nice. I was fascinated by the various levels of familiarity with camping culture (and camp culture, we are all gay after all :)) in the group. For some, this is all old hat and I was impressed by how prepared they were with everything: All the equipment and setup, food prep, utensils, fire making and rain avoidance tarps. And it really made me question what the definition of camping is, and what it is for. I think it is safe to say the idea is to get out into nature, and reconnect with our more primal selves a bit, away from the artificial culture of the big city. But in recreating most of the comforts (sleeping bag, padded mat underneath, various utensils, music, lights, driving up to the campsite, etc) how far away are we from those creature comforts? Then again, we had no cell reception, abundant fresh air, hikes in the woods, and (with the sometime exception of the neighboring campsite’s blaring rave dance party soundtrack) we experienced the sounds you don’t hear so much in the city: the birds, running water and rustling of the trees. For me, the best part was getting to know a new group of really great guys and get out a bit from my freelance isolation. We laughed a lot,  and took some really lovely walks (see a few pics below by clicking on the link) and I came back feeling pretty relaxed and happy.

How camp am I?

7
Jun
2012

Tomorrow I am going camping for the first time in a long time. I have recently given a lot of thought to the need to get out more from my solitary freelance office/home, and do more group activities. When the opportunity presented itself on facebook at almost the precise moment of these musings, I thought it had to be a sign from the universe. The fact that it is a camping trip and I can count on barely more than one hand my lifetime adventures in camping may make it seem an improbable fit for me. But I am nothing if not willing to jump into the new and unexpected, so here goes. It doesn’t hurt that this is a gay camping trip, which of course lends double entendre to the entire endeavor known as “camping”. I will be gone for three glorious days of sleeping in tents, river kayaking, campfire stories, eating s’mores, and uncertain hygiene. Wish me luck!